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    Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (Special Edition)
    Stars:Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Chewbacca, The Droids, etc.
    The Empire Strikes Back has always been a special movie for me. I was 4 when I saw it first, almost old enough to understand what was going on. As the darkest and most mysterious movie in the Star Wars trilogy, Empire contains an indescribable quality which is absent in all other movies. It is simultaneously self-contained and dependent on the first film, picturesque and grotesque, with light shining faintly through the evil that is the Dark Side of the Force.

    Profound philosophical statements (heh) aside, I have never enjoyed Empire more than I did on the re-release opening night. We were lucky enough, despite Kevin's procrastination, to get tickets for the 11:00 show at Tiffany Square, one of the better theaters in the Springs. It was a very cold night, and I drove myself, Shawn, Kevin, Sonja, and Brad to the theater.

    We arrived there an hour-and-a-half before the showing started, and passed the time by playing cards. I would have been undefeated at Old Maid if I didn't lose that one time. When we finally got to sit down, we decided to eat all the popcorn before the film started in order to get the free refill. It was arduous, but we were successful. :) Kevin was able to talk Shawn into going to get the refill (poor Shawn, you should have heard him whine! :) But enough about us, let's get to the movie.

    I found myself shivering during the Hoth scene, not because of the imagery, but because of the air conditioning! Who would turn on the air conditioning when it's 2 degrees outside? That sucked. Speaking of suck, when one compares the top-of-the-line special effects of 1980 to the special effects we all are used to today, one notices a huge discrepancy. The tauntauns and AT-AT's in the Hoth sequences looked very "stop-motion-y," which is what they were. Why weren't those things updated?

    Another thing I would have liked to see, but didn't, is the additional footage concerning the Hoth Wampas that was originally shot but cut out of the finished film. However, that's a negative point that only a die-hard Star Wars nut like myself would pick out. Another thing that only a Star Wars nut would pick out, Luke's line after R2-D2 was spit out of that swamp monster on Degobah was changed! It used to be, "You're lucky you don't taste too good." Now, it's "You're lucky to get out of there." Why the change? WHY? I loved the old line. Even when I was 4 years old, that was a great line.

    Fortunately, those minor negative points were vastly overshadowed by what was done to Cloud City on Bespin. Cloud City is the location of the pivotal moment in the Star Wars Trilogy, but for those of you complete losers who have never seen any of the Star Wars movies, I won't give the secret away. Anyway, Cloud City is now a beautiful, bustling city instead of a couple obvious matte paintings. The improvements are so profound that it gives the movie much more ambiance than before.

    Also, for some reason, I enjoyed the Yoda scenes more than any of my other 80-some thousand viewings of the movie. Maybe it has something to do with seeing the little guy on the big screen, I don't know. I also don't know if Return of the Jedi, the final installment of the trilogy which promises more additions, can top The Empire Strikes Back. Give me a couple weeks, and you'll find out.

    Comments? E-mail movies@aldebaran.net